Santa Clarita is looking to pump the brakes on unsafe cycling by splashing some new paint on local bike trails.
The city’s “Heads Up!” campaign was created last year to combat distracted behaviors in drivers and pedestrians. The program is now evolving to target a new demographic – cyclists.
“We saw that throughout the state bicyclist collisions were still up. While we didn’t have a huge spike here in the city, we saw numbers that we really could bring down,” said Kevin Strauss, communications specialist for the city of Santa Clarita. “By taking the approach that
we took last year with pedestrians and drivers and seeing the improvement, we wanted to find a way to really reinforce that message with cyclists.”
Public works crews began painting “Heads Up” stencils on local trails Tuesday to remind cyclists to pay attention to their surroundings.
“The plan is to put them at high-visibility areas along the different trails throughout the city,” Strauss said.
The first stencil was placed on the Chuck Pontius Commuter Trail where it intersects with Bouquet Canyon Road in Valencia.
“It’s a reminder for [cyclists] when approaching intersections in the trail, or the ramps that are going up to the street, they need to pay attention to not only other pedestrians and cyclists, but also when they get to roadways,” Strauss said.
Crews will continue to place the stencils on different trails throughout the city over the coming weeks.
With the bicyclist community growing, the Santa Clarita Traffic Safety Team is committed to reducing the number of cyclist-involved collisions by 20 percent in 2018 through education, according to Strauss.
Since the program was launched in 2017, there has been an 11-percent decline in annual collision rate and a 47-percent drop in pedestrian-involved accidents.
“We had no pedestrian fatalities last year,” Strauss said. “It’s really just reminding folks that we all play a part in our community and increasing safety. This is an area where we are able to focus our resources this year.”